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What’s in a Statement? « The Washington Independent

Senators of all stripes rushed to put their stamp on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

While I’m usually driven crazy by elected officials’ efforts to tell you their view on everything — such as a press releases I once received about the adoption of walking as Maryland’s official state exercise — I found the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in how various senators parsed their sentences “congratulating” Sotomayor to be very interesting.

They run the gamut.

Cold as Ice: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had no time for niceties. In fact I think he wastes more words talking about how he can’t wait to grill her than he spends congratulating her.

I congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor on her nomination by the President to be an Associated Justice on the United States Supreme Court, said Senator John McCain. I look forward to examining her record thoroughly during the Senate confirmation process.

Hedging his bets: The newest Democrat, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is willing to “applaud the nomination” of Sotomayor, but don’t think for a second his vote is a given.

I applaud the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her confirmation would add needed diversity in two ways: the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the high court. While her record suggests excellent education and professional qualifications, now it is up to the Senate to discharge its constitutional duty for a full and fair confirmation process.

Eager to please: Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) had a rough year — signing off on some of the legislation related to the much-maligned AIG bonuses would be tough on anybody. Last week’s credit card reform bill, however, was a big victory for him and per Politico last week, Obama sent an e-mail encouraging Connecticut supporters to congratulate him for his work. Now Dodd is returning the favor, and making sure he gets kind words for Obama wrapped into his praise of Sotomayor.

President Obama has promised to bring change to Washington and he continues to do that with his choice for Supreme Court Justice. Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified and historic nominee. She would bring extensive legal experience and a unique perspective to the Supreme Court. I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of her nomination over the next few weeks.

What the?: Sen. David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican whose digits turned up in the D.C. madam’s little black book, has again emerged from the low-profile cocoon he lived in for months after the scandal in time to comment on Sotomayor’s nomination. He gives the nominee credit, but wants to make sure she understands how the law, the Constitution and the game of baseball work.

As the first Hispanic nominee for the Supreme Court and only the third woman, Judge Sotomayor is certainly making hopeful and positive history. Now we must study her record and philosophy carefully to ensure that she understands the proper role of the judge as impartial umpire — not pitcher or catcher.

The Constitution is clear that the Supreme Court justices must interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. Judge Sotomayor made some comments at Duke University regarding the power of the courts to make policy that do give me pause, and that is something that I look forward to discussing with her.

As her nomination progress, I will be thoroughly reviewing her judicial record and I look forward to her nomination hearing, said Vitter.

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